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Klayfish
Klayfish Reader
6/3/11 6:47 a.m.

I don't think it's a big deal. I'm nearly 40 years old and just started trying to teach myself how to fix cars. Until now, I've always paid to have things done. I wish I had learned years ago, and right now I'm just in the very beginning stages (changing belts, etc...) but I'm trying. At the same time, I recognize that my life probably won't allow me to spend hours rebuilding engines, etc....I just don't have that kind of time right now. I'm going to do what I can and be happy with it.

tuna55
tuna55 SuperDork
6/3/11 6:55 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: I have no idea how people who have kids/dogs, work more than 40 hours week, a) get a chance to do anything b) don't go insane from a lack of down time.

40 hours per week for me and 29 for the wife, 3 kids and a dog. I have paid for the following: wheels onto tires, air conditioning recharges and ECM flashes. Once when I was 17 I paid someone to do a ball joint because it was at the shop doing the inspection (up in NY) and it was already late.

It isn't because I like my man card, it is because I am relatively poor and don't trust people to do things properly.

Strike_Zero
Strike_Zero HalfDork
6/3/11 7:13 a.m.

Nothing wrong with that . . . I'm taking the 530 in for subframe bushings, the Dakota for rear brakes (I hate replacing drum brakes), and the VFR for this year's tune up.

That will free up some time to do some yard work, finish cleaning the garage, and start on the race car . . .

Klayfish
Klayfish Reader
6/3/11 8:06 a.m.
tuna55 wrote: 40 hours per week for me and 29 for the wife, 3 kids and a dog. I have paid for the following: wheels onto tires, air conditioning recharges and ECM flashes. Once when I was 17 I paid someone to do a ball joint because it was at the shop doing the inspection (up in NY) and it was already late. It isn't because I like my man card, it is because I am relatively poor and don't trust people to do things properly.

How on earth do you do it? 40-45 hours per week for me, 40 for the wife, 3 little kids. No dog, just a cat. Like I said, I'm just learning how to fix cars, so it takes me 4 times as long to do something as an experiened mechanic. But still...I struggle to find an hour a week. I'm jealous.

tuna55
tuna55 SuperDork
6/3/11 8:51 a.m.
Klayfish wrote:
tuna55 wrote: 40 hours per week for me and 29 for the wife, 3 kids and a dog. I have paid for the following: wheels onto tires, air conditioning recharges and ECM flashes. Once when I was 17 I paid someone to do a ball joint because it was at the shop doing the inspection (up in NY) and it was already late. It isn't because I like my man card, it is because I am relatively poor and don't trust people to do things properly.

How on earth do you do it? 40-45 hours per week for me, 40 for the wife, 3 little kids. No dog, just a cat. Like I said, I'm just learning how to fix cars, so it takes me 4 times as long to do something as an experiened mechanic. But still...I struggle to find an hour a week. I'm jealous.

There are ways. I don't sleep much as the third kid is less than two weeks old. I don't have any "me" time at all, and my project doesn't get -any- attention. My fleet has gotten a lot newer recently, as well, so the old turbobrick that caused me headaches with maintenance (turbo, headgasket, tranny, cooling system, heater core within 6 months) was really wearing me down before it was replaced. My fleet is remarkably reliable. I've done the timing belt and suspension bushings on the Cruiser within the past six months and I've done some A/C work on the Freestyle, but not much else.

I have also sat out the last few Lemons races. When the wife starts grad school again this fall, things really get busy, but after that things ought to slow down and enable me to get back into some other things.

Pick your battles. I clean the bathrooms quickly one a week or so, I spent nearly 1k on a lawnmower and a cordless trimmer so that I can do the lawn in less than an hour, fly through 2-3 loads of laundry per day and the like. I've even shortened the time spent in the garden this year by some clever cage building. A nanny helps a ton with the kids instead of a daycare - if I am late getting things going and the kids aren't dressed when I leave for work, whatever, she can handle it. I also save money and also time because I don't have to drop them off or pick them up every day.

I am also blessed with a job with a great manager with a great work-life balance. Tons of personal business time and work-from-home time. That makes things easier. My church does 7 meals for any newborn, so we're benefiting from that too at the moment, although I love to cook on the weekends.

GrantMLS
GrantMLS New Reader
6/3/11 8:56 a.m.

I guess I am just poor - I could not afford to take my car anyplace.. did it once when i lost the fuel pump in my jeep on the interstate and just didnt have the tools or parts - could of replaced the fuel pump 5 times for the price i paid...

poopshovel
poopshovel SuperDork
6/3/11 8:57 a.m.

I've been neglecting the timing belt on my integra for a gazillion miles because I REALLY don't want to do it, but I can't stand the thought of paying someone else to do it.

Twin_Cam
Twin_Cam SuperDork
6/3/11 2:41 p.m.

I regularly pay for alignments, tire mounting, inspections, and exhaust work. All because I don't have the specialized tools (tire mounting machine, welder/plasma cutter). I've only payed a couple times for jobs other than those...like the thermostat on the Maxima I owned for a couple months, because I'm convinced you have to drop the engine to do it, and the dealer only wanted $160 for it. That was worth it.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy HalfDork
6/3/11 3:20 p.m.

I find the chance I'll pay somebody to work on my car for aggravating crap increases greatly as the temperature rises. Between the clouds of mosquitoes I get from living near a swampy area, the humidity and the heat, for some simple jobs it's just easier to pay a couple of hundred bucks and stay home and relax.

ValuePack
ValuePack Dork
6/3/11 6:31 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: I have no idea how people who have kids/dogs, work more than 40 hours week, a) get a chance to do anything b) don't go insane from a lack of down time.

I have two kids, work 60-80 hours a week, live in a cramped second floor apt with no covered parking, and my wife and I work opposing weekday schedules and weekends, leaving me on 24hr baby duty on my weekends off. I can tell you that the answers to your quandry are:

A. We don't do anything

B. We do go insane.

Regarding vehicular downtime, my solution seems to be to buy a used Japanese E36 M3box with a scrap of life left in it for $1k or less, positively drive it into the ground from a near-total lack of maintenance/money/place to work on it for a year, and repeat. The current crop of cheap Subaru refuses to die and OT has been good; the Impreza's getting some TLC this weekend... It was a loooong winter.

tr8todd
tr8todd Reader
6/4/11 6:48 a.m.

Sounds to me like too many of you guys are letting life get in the way of what really matters- quality time in the garage with your automobile!

Strike_Zero
Strike_Zero HalfDork
6/4/11 8:04 a.m.

Eh. . . and some of us probably won't have it any other way

My race car hasn't been touched in almost a year . . . why??

  • Bought a new house
  • Maintaining a new lawn
  • Maintaining all other vehicles so Mrs. Zero will have something reliable (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • Spending time with friends
  • Working insane hours to keep the new house, new lawn, maintenance on the vehicles, and hang out with friends

Before I was a home owner, all I thought about was a garage and long hours I would spend in there. Now that I have one, I have found other things to occupy my time.

I could farm out the completion of my race car to an indy . . . but what is fun that? So I'll farm out the other crap I don't have time for or don't want to do.

neckromacr
neckromacr Reader
6/4/11 9:13 a.m.

In my younger years I farmed out a clutch job to a well know speed shop specializing in VWs. The experience was such a train wreck that it was the impetus for me to learn how to do it myself. The $100 I spent for someone to help me and show me how to do it next time was well worth it. I can do one all by myself in good time now given the right facilities.

Luckily I work in a shop where I can take care of my alignments and tire mounting and balancing. Unfortunately I still have to pay (although at a much lower rate) for the privilege to use their bays. Thanks Corporate America!

That said, the normal exhaust and internal tranny work I farm out. And most of the work on my wife's Mazda 6 3.0. That motor is a hot mess as far as layout.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
6/4/11 10:02 a.m.

On my racecar, I would never pay anyone to do anything because I have trust issues and nobody cares as much about my well-being as me. I like fabricating stuff or fixing the unfixable but never want to do the same thing twice.

If I could stomach spending a lot of cash for something I know I can do myself... I'd never work on my truck, daily, or wife's car ever again. I'd also never mow the lawn or clean the house, wash the cars... cook my own food - hell, might as well have someone wash my coin purse too. Hrmmmm... I'm going to need a 2nd job to cover all this staff.

I hate routine maintenance like I hate hemorrhoids, nazis and onions.

neckromacr
neckromacr Reader
6/4/11 5:12 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: I hate routine maintenance like I hate hemorrhoids, nazis and onions.

Funny this was my rationale for passing on a 20 year old "free" gas mower that was going to need about $60-70 to fix it up right.

When I went in to get the parts I saw a rechargeable electric marked down from $400 to $170 because it was taken out of the box and returned.

$100 extra got a new machine where I'd never need to drain oil, go get gas for and wasn't the same age as my car I acctually like working on and driving to put up with its mechanical geriatrics.

Its worked out well so far.

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